Study Guide: Welfare Ministry

By: Ellen G. White


Study Guide Index


Prepared under the auspices of the Ellen G. White Estate and the Department of Lay Activities of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Copyright 1970 by The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.


This guide consists of a set of nine lessons covering the book Welfare Ministry. The division into sections was made so that the studies could be entered into conveniently at prayer meetings or other regularly appointed periods. In this way opportunity may be afforded all church members to become well acquainted with the message of this book.

And apart from the divine instruction given to Ellen White regarding welfare ministry, she knew from a lifetime of personal involvement the joy that comes from sharing. An account of her many experiences in helping the needy and unfortunate constitutes the closing part of the book you are about to investigate. Its foreword suggests the reading of these personal experiences of Mrs. White and her husband, James White, before entering upon a study of the text of the book itself. It will be found that Elder and Mrs. White were engaged in this type of ministry years before any welfare program was organized in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

When Mrs. White went to Australia several years after her husband's death, she stepped into a situation of financial distress caused by a nation-wide depression. Her response to the desperate needs she witnessed on every hand, especially during the years when she was trying to attract money for the building of a college, is significant and instructive.

As to procedure, it is suggested that after studying the material in each lesson, the student turn to the questions. Page numbers in parentheses indicate location of the answers. Questions are to be answered, quotations are to be completed by filling in the missing word or words, the correct answer indicated in multiple choice and true-or-false questions.

In addition to the use of this guide in connection with a weekly church study program, it can also well be employed by the board and staff of community service centers. These groups will also find the companion book, The Manual for Health and Welfare Services, to be especially helpful.

This guide is made available through the joint effort of the Department of Lay Activities of the General Conference and the Ellen G. White Estate. A meaningful, prayerful participation in this study course can only lead to a deeper understanding of practical Christianity.


Lesson 1--Foreword and Appendix

Background and Personal Experiences

Lesson 2--Sections I and II

The Divine Philosophy of Suffering and Poverty

God's Program for His Church

Lesson 3--Sections III and IV

The New Testament Pattern

Neighborhood Evangelism

Lesson 4--Sections V and VI

Relieving Suffering Humanity

The Dorcas Movement in the Church

Lesson 5--Section VII

The Poor

Lesson 6--Section VIII

The Unfortunate

Lesson 7--Section IX

The Outcasts

Lesson 8--Section X

Financial Resources for Welfare Work

Lesson 9--Section XI

The Fruitage of Welfare Ministry


ASSIGNMENT: Welfare Ministry, pp. 9-12; pp. 321-340

Answer the following questions, fill in the missing words in quotations, check or circle the correct answer in multiple choice and true-or-false questions.



1. An appropriate and effective means of focusing the attention of the people of the world on Christ and Christianity is ____________________________ . (p. 9)

2. How should our church welfare service be superior to that offered by a community or government? (p. 9)



3. List four sources of the material found in Welfare Ministry. (pp. 9, 10)






4. What wide meaning does Ellen G. White give to the phrase "medical missionary work"? (p. 10)



5. Why is it advisable for the reader to study the instruction in its complete background setting? (p. 11)



6. For what purpose was Welfare Ministry compiled? (pp. 11, 12)



STUDY QUESTIONS ON APPENDIX: "Personal Experiences of Ellen G. White as a Welfare Worker"

1. Not long after her marriage, Ellen White became involved in one of the more difficult types of welfare ministry. What was it, and what was her motivation? (pp. 321, 322)



2. What was one of Mrs. White's favorite sermon topics? (pp. 321, 322, footnote)



3. What example did Elder White set in hospitality? (p. 322, footnote)



4. How were the White boys influenced by their parents' generosity? (p. 325)



5. Though untrained medically, James and Ellen White treated apparently hopelessly ill patients and were blessed. What type of treatments did they give, and to what did they attribute their success? (pp. 325, 326)



6. What other beneficial results followed the medical care given patients while Mrs. White was working in Australia? (pp. 327, 328)



7. If we followed Mrs. White's example, what kind of donations would we make to the Dorcas Society? (pp. 328, 329)



8. What was her attitude during an acute depression in Australia? (Circle correct statements--pp. 330, 335)

a. She couldn't help everybody, so she would pretend the depression didn't exist and ignore the needs around her.

b. She would give to all who applied, without considering their backgrounds or how they would use the money.

c. While not forgetting her needy neighbor, she would see that those financially distressed who were of "the household of faith," received assistance lest through discouragement, Satan take them "out of our ranks."

d. She felt that it was better for the dignity and self-respect of those helped to be given pay for work done, than outright cash gifts.

9. What part did Mrs. White take in the organization of a Dorcas Society in Australia? (pp. 331, 332)



10. Briefly describe a Dorcas gathering in Mrs. White's home in Australia. What happy result of taking personal interest in the poor is related? (p. 334)



11. Mrs. White's objective in helping "God's suffering poor" was: "We should make these men and women all ______________________________________." (p. 337)



1. What impact would be made in our needy world if all Seventh-day Adventists became involved in helping, as did Elder and Mrs. White?

2. How do you think Sister White would react to present-day inner-city problems and needs?

3. Discuss Mrs. White's involvement with poverty in the following areas:

a. Financial

b. Educational

c. Medical

d. Meeting emergency appeals for food, clothing, shelter

e. Giving encouragement


ASSIGNMENT: Welfare Ministry, pp. 14-49

STUDY QUESTIONS ON SECTION I: "The Divine Philosophy of Suffering and Poverty"

1. What is the work of the church? (p. 14)



2. In what way could suffering and destitution have been avoided? (p. 16)



3. As they respond to needs about them, in what three ways are Christ's followers helped? (p. 17)





4. If there were no poverty, what would we not understand? (p. 18)



5. Those who are indifferent to the wants of the needy will be regarded as-- (p. 19)

a. Careless servants

b. Faithful stewards

b. Enemies of God


6. How was Christ a joy to the rich? (p. 26)




1. What would you say is the divine philosophy of suffering and poverty?



2. What evidence is there that God is not responsible for suffering?



STUDY QUESTIONS ON SECTION II: "God's Program for His Church"

1. List five classes of people who will be benefited by reading Isaiah 58. (p. 28)



2. "The whole of the ______________________________________ is to be regarded as a message for this time, to be given over and over again." (p. 29)

3. What kind of ministry will bring life into the churches? (p. 29)



4. When is it impossible to fasten upon the arm of God? (p. 31)



5. What promise is given when you do work of mercy and love? (p. 31)



6. How only can we give a practical demonstration of the truths of the gospel? (p. 32)



7. What is the true interpretation of the gospel? (p. 33)



8. Christ's definition of pure religion is "the exercise of pity, sympathy, and love" in the following places: (p. 35)





9. How is true godliness measured? (p. 37)



10. Our neighbor is every person who ___________________. (p. 43) Our neighbor is every soul who is ___________________. (p. 43) Our neighbor is everyone who is ___________________. (p. 43)

11. "To leave the suffering neighbor unrelieved is a ___________________ of the ___________________." (p. 47)

12. What is the only genuine fruit of Christianity? (p. 49)




Our love to God is measured by our fulfilled opportunities of service to those made in His image. How can we best utilize these opportunities?


My personal commitment to the principles of this lesson:




ASSIGNMENT: Welfare Ministry, pp. 52-113


1. What is the law that becomes the connecting link that binds us to our fellow men? (p. 52)



2. Give five ways Jesus comforted and gladdened the people. (p. 53)







3. In what way did Jesus interpret the gospel? (p. 56)



4. What methods used by Jesus will give "true success in reaching people"? (p. 60)



5. Of what was Jesus' work largely made up? (pp. 60, 61)



6. How could present-day evangelism be "far more successful"? (p. 61)



7. Explain the secret of Paul's power and success. (p. 62)



8. How are we to get close to our neighbors? (p. 64)



9. How can we make our work for souls more successful? (p. 65)



10. Why was Dorcas brought back to life? (p. 67)



STUDY QUESTIONS ON SECTION IV: "Neighborhood Evangelism"

1. Besides our benevolence, God calls for: (p. 71)





2. In what two places do we see the result of the church members' neglect to work along Christ's lines? (p. 72)




3. Who should interest themselves in doing good? (p. 72)



4. Mrs. White carried a burden for the wealthy planters of the South, as well as for the poorer classes. (True) (False) (pp. 72, 73)


5. Members of poor households should be taught how to: (p. 75)






6. What two particular times are pointed out as times to engage in welfare ministry? (p. 76)



7. What is our first work? (p. 79)


8. What is the basis of godliness? (p. 81)


9. How is godliness obtained? (p. 82)


10. What can be done to lead to one hundred conversions to the truth where now there is only one? (p. 86)



11. How are we to approach people? (p. 87)



12. What qualities of character should be exercised as we visit people? (pp. 88-94)



13. What characteristics displayed by Christ during His ministry served to draw all classes to Him? (p. 95)





14. When were the first works of the church seen? (p. 100)



15. What was Ellen Harmon's feeling about personal work among those of her own young friends? (p. 99)



16. Wherever a church has been started what work are the members to do at once? (p. 105)



17. What is the best help ministers can give the church members? (p. 110)



18. When will the work of God on earth be finished? (p. 111)




Personal visiting is the most effective means for winning souls for Jesus.


My personal commitment to the principles of this lesson:




ASSIGNMENT: Welfare Ministry, pp. 116-166

STUDY QUESTIONS ON SECTION V: "Relieving Suffering Humanity"

1. Where may we find the footsteps of Jesus? (p. 119)



2. Where is your welfare ministry to begin? (p. 119)



3. The gospel ministry combines what two branches of work? (p. 121)




4. What work has been left undone? (p. 122)



5. When the medical missionary work is combined with the giving of the three angels' messages, what will happen in the churches? (p. 124)



6. How can we learn how to minister to the sorrowing and disappointed? (p. 125)



7. What are we to teach people to do? (p. 127)



8. In what subject do we need a "genuine education"? (p. 128)



9. Why should no one think himself a criterion for all? (p. 130)



10. Why does God permit disasters? (p. 135)



11. When God shall "bid His angels loose the winds" what are some of the catastrophes that will befall this earth? (p. 135)



12. In what places is only "a thousandth part" of the work being done? (p. 136)



13. As we have opportunity, what are we to be ready to do? (p. 137)



14. What type of work should every member take hold of now? (p. 138)



15. What did Mrs. White wish us to tell at this time? (p. 139)




Can true medical missionary work succeed apart from the work of the church? Explain your answer.



STUDY QUESTIONS ON SECTION VI: "The Dorcas Movement in the Church"

1. Of what two facts did Dorcas keep herself aware? (p. 142)




2. In what work should a larger number of women now be engaged? (p. 143)



3. When will believing women be working as Christ worked? (p. 143)



4. What will give the churches a life and vitality that they have long needed? (p. 144)



5. Which type of woman will be given power by the Saviour that exceeds that of men? (p. 145)



6. How could we see many more converted to the truth? (p. 146)



7. Women are better qualified to fill certain offices than men. Name one. (p. 147)



8. What are the Martha and Mary attributes? (p. 150)



9. What characteristics will the successful woman worker for God have? (pp. 150-155)



10. What type of woman will exert a forceful influence for good? (p. 157)



11. What responsibility of women is paramount to everything else? (p. 158)



12. How may a woman stand on an equality with her husband as adviser, counselor, companion, and co-worker? (p. 160)



13. How does Satan seek to enlist the women in his cause? (p. 161)




What response does the resolution of the last paragraph of page 166 strike in your heart?




Great work will be done by dedicated women in the closing hours of this world's history.

My personal commitment to the principles of this lesson:




ASSIGNMENT: Welfare Ministry, pp. 168-206

STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 20: "Ministry to the Poor"

1. A true Christian is especially a friend to whom? (p. 168)



2. What is the highest credential of the gospel ministry ? (p. 171)



3. Why is the gospel better received among the poor than among the affluent? (pp. 172, 173)



4. Why are those in charge unable to solve problems of government? (pp. 173, 174)



5. By what act did Christ remove the reproach of poverty? (p. 172)



6. What particular acts done to others are regarded as though done to Christ? (p. 175)



7. In what ways is poverty a benefit to Christianity? (p. 177)




What can earnest work for the poor do for us personally?


STUDY QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER 21: "The Poor in the Church"

1. List the two classes of poor within the church. (pp. 178, 179)




2. What warning is given regarding money given to help those in need? (p. 179)



3. What is the responsibility of the church regarding the poor in times of sickness? (p. 181)



4. How are the needs of others to be ascertained? (p. 183)



5. Of what class especially is the Lord speaking when He says, "Bring the poor that are cast out to thy house" (Isaiah 58:7)? (p. 184)



6. What counsel is given regarding the poor in the church? (pp. 185-187)



7. What counsel is given regarding a balanced work? (p. 187)




1. How do you think that Psalm 37:25 applies to the principle of this lesson? "I have been young, and now am old [etc.]."



2. Need poverty and coarseness be synonymous?


STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 22: "The Poor of the World"

1. What is the "very work" the church should long since have been doing? (p. 189)



2. "God calls not only for your ___________________ but for your ___________________, ___________________ ." (pp. 190, 191)

3. What three things must the church provide to help certain poor persons become industrious and self-supporting? (p. 197)




4. What questions should we keep in mind when going to the poor? (pp. 191, 192)



5. What gives character to the "work"? (p. 192)



STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 23: "Helping the Poor to Help Themselves"

1. What is "true help"? (p. 194)



2. Where can the best solution be found for the problems of labor and poverty? (p. 195)



3. What question does God ask of us in regard to needy families? (p. 198)



4. Define real charity. (p. 199)



5. What mistakes must we avoid in helping the poor? (pp. 199, 200)



6. What are some of the temptations of the poor? (pp. 200, 201)



7. What observation is made of the poor in the United States? (p. 202)



STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 24: "Poor to Exercise Benevolence"

1. What are some of the poor apt to do? (p. 203)



2. Give two biblical examples of sacrificial giving. (pp. 203-205)




3. What responsibility rests upon the minister in the field of education? (p. 206)




What attitude should we have toward the poor's giving to help others?




The church has a definite responsibility to help the Lord's poor. The greatest assistance that can be given, however, is teaching them to help themselves and also to become involved in helping someone else. Discuss this point.




ASSIGNMENT: Welfare Ministry, pp. 208-242


STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 25: "Our Duty to the Unfortunate"

1. How does God's glory "shine forth through His church"? (p. 208)



2. How does Christ represent those who have pity for the unfortunate? (p. 209)



3. "We are to make the condition of the unfortunate brother ___________________." (p. 210)

4. What was Sister White shown years ago, and also more recently, relative to God's specific test of His professed people? (p. 211)



5. What are angels waiting to see whether we will do? (p. 212)



6. God "will not hearken to the prayer of His people while the ___________________, the ___________________, the ___________________, the ___________________, and the ___________________ are neglected among them." (p. 213)



1. Should the church give special consideration to caring for its unfortunate members, or is this primarily the duty of the state?



2. How can we Seventh-day Adventists widen our hospitality in welcoming visitors to our churches?



STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 26: "Help and Encouragement for Widows"

1. What two classes of people have the strongest claims upon our tender sympathy and care? (p. 214)



2. How does God test the love of His professed followers? (p. 214)



3. With what are we to fill our lives? (p. 216)



4. In what way are prices and wages to be adjusted? (p. 217)



5.What five duties are mentioned in connection with our responsibilities to widows and orphans? (p. 218)







6. What does every poor, tried soul need? (p. 219)



STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 27: "The Care of Orphans"

1. In what ways do some members show their selfishness regarding orphans? (p. 220)



2. What example did Elder and Mrs. James White give regarding the care of orphans? (p. 221)



3. What two weaknesses keep us from doing what we should about orphans? (p. 222)




4. What important fact did the foster parents of E. forget? (p. 224)



5. How could these foster parents have gained the boy's confidence and affection? (p. 225)



6. What responsibilities are pointed out to those who have no children? (pp. 227, 228)



7. When and by whom should orphanages be established? (pp. 229, 230)


8. What type of homes for orphans would be most successful? (pp. 230, 231)



STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 28: "Adopting Children"

1. Who are best qualified to adopt children? (p. 232)



2. What benefits would adopting children give childless couples? (p. 233)



3. What counsel is given to ministers regarding the adopting of children? (pp. 234, 235)



STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 29: "The Care of the Aged"

1. When it is not possible for the family to care for their own aged relatives, what is the responsibility of the church? (p. 237)



2. What counsel is given regarding institutions for the aged and orphans? (p. 238)




What special attribute can the care of the aged develop within us?



STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 30: "Our Responsibility to the Blind"

1. Who are sent to minister to the children of God who are physically blind? (p. 240)



2. "God requires that the same consideration which should be given to the widow and fatherless be given to the ___________________ and those suffering under the ___________________ of other ___________________" (p. 240)

3. "True sympathy between man and his fellow man is to be the ___________________ distinguishing those who love and fear God from those who are unmindful of His law." (p. 242)

4. When we make no effort to discharge our Christian responsibility to the unfortunate, the blind, the lame, the widow, and the fatherless, what does God often do for us? (p. 242)




Our regard for the unfortunate will unseal the fountains of Christlike love in our souls, and provide for their care and training. Why is this so?




ASSIGNMENT: Welfare Ministry, pp. 244-260

STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 31: "Working for Outcasts"

1. What must we have in our hearts before we can do effective Christian help work? (p. 244)



2. Explain the meaning of Christ's words "Compel them to come in." (pp. 245, 246)


3. Instead of asking whether a person is worthy, what question should we ask? (p. 246)



4. What alone degrades an individual? (p. 247)



5. What two truths must be impressed on the outcast if he is to be changed? (p. 247)




6. Where are we to look for those in "bondage to evil habits"? (p. 248)



7. List some guidelines to remember in working for outcasts (pp. 249-251)




1. How would you prove that Christ's followers have a responsibility toward the "outcast"? Who are "outcasts"?



2. In working for the "outcasts" why are we not to "imitate and fall in with Salvation Army methods"?




1. What danger is there in working for the "fallen and degraded"? (p. 253)



2. What effect may it have on careless workers? (p. 254)



3. What counsel is given to young men and women? (p. 255)



STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 33: "The Call for a Balanced Work"

1. How only can we decide which work will accomplish the most good? (pp. 256, 257)



2. What is the great danger in planning work for outcasts? (p. 257)



3. How must work for the poorer classes be treated? (p. 258)



4. What is the best way to care for abandoned women and babies? (p. 258)



5. How is work done for outcasts to be supported financially? (p. 260)



6. How is the great work of the church described? (p. 260)




1. What is a balanced work?



2. Harmonize the instruction in this lesson with Isaiah 58:6-10.




A special spiritual work is to be done for the outcasts of our cities, but this work must be undertaken only after much study and prayer, and is only one part of the work of carrying the message to the whole world. My personal commitment to the principles of this lesson:




ASSIGNMENT: Welfare Ministry, pp. 262-292

STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 34: "Our Individual Responsibility"

1. What are the blessed results of benevolence? (p. 262)



2. What work cannot be done by proxy? (p. 263)



3. "Of ___________________ they can supply nothing for the needs of the soul. We can impart only ___________________, and we can receive only as we ___________________" (p. 264)

4. Since the work of building up the kingdom is of God, what may we know it will do? (p. 264)



5. What danger is there in organized welfare work? (p. 265)



6. What question should we ask before spending money on ourselves? (p. 267)



STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 35: "Releasing the Streams of Benevolence"

1. For what reason has God placed property in our hands? (p. 268)



2. When we pray, "Give us this day . . .", what are we acknowledging? (p. 269)



3. How do "the streams of beneficence" become dried up? (p. 269)



4. What spirit must actuate believers today in order for a wide and far-reaching work to be accomplished? (p. 271)




How do you know when your giving to the cause of God has reached the true proportion?


STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 36: "Specific Funds for Welfare Work"

1. What should be established in every church? (p. 272)



2. How often is a thank offering to be given by each member? (p. 272) ___________________. And for what purpose? ______________________________________

3. How much did Mrs. White suggest that we give to this fund? (p. 272)



4. How is the money in the self-denial boxes to be used? (p. 273)



5. When we follow God's will regarding the needy here and abroad, what will visitors in our churches see? (p. 273)



6. How was the second tithe in Old Testament times used? (pp. 273, 274)



7. How did such training in giving affect the people? (p. 274)



8. Where and for whom should money be made available to help those in need? (pp. 274, 275)



9. What obligation comes first, even before relieving the wants of the poor? (p. 275)



10. From what funds are widows and orphans to be helped? (p. 275)



11. How successful was God's plan for the care of the needy in Old Testament times? (p. 276)


STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 37: "The Wealth of the Gentiles"

1. Are we ever justified in using tithe money for doing welfare work? (p. 277)



2. Why should we accept gifts from those not of our faith? (p. 278)



3. What will God cause to happen if we approach worldly men in a wise manner? (p. 278)



4. In what spirit is money from unbelievers to be received? (p. 279)



5. What aspect of the truth appeals to men in the higher walks of life? (p. 280)



6. How are the wealthy to be approached for gifts for the needy? (pp. 281-283)




How will our prayerful contact with those materially prosperous result in a double blessing?




1. What examples of successful food sales are given in this chapter? (pp. 284-288)



2. What is the primary purpose of food sales and health food restaurants? (p. 286)



3. What did you learn from this chapter about how a Christian should conduct himself at public gatherings? (pp. 284-288)



STUDY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER 39: "Forbidden Money-raising Methods"

1. What money-making practices should not be indulged in by Christians? (pp. 289-292)



2. List five reasons why these practices are inappropriate. (pp. 289-292)








What involvement is expected of the Christian in the raising of church funds?




ASSIGNMENT: Welfare Ministry, pp. 294-319

STUDY QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER 40: "The Influence of Neighborhood Ministry"

1. What will accomplish far more than sermons? (pp. 295, 296)



2. When the believer is allied to Christ, what happens to his interest? (p. 296)



3. What basic principle of religion is more effective than courts of justice in dealing with evildoers? (p. 297)



4. "The glory of heaven is in ______________________________________." (p 298)

5. What will loving ministry accomplish? (p. 298)




Should the breaking down of prejudice be a studied effort on our part, or strictly a by-product of our ministry to others?




1. In essence, what is Heaven's law of action and reaction? (p. 301)



2. What takes place when we give ourselves to God for the service of humanity? (p. 301)



3. What will the spirit of unselfish labor for others do for us? (p. 302)



4. "The pleasure of doing good to others imparts ______________________________________." (p. 303)

5. What is an excellent remedy for disease? (p. 304)



6. What will the Sabbath service be if the church members act their part during the week and on Sabbath tell their experiences? (p. 306)



7. "None of our churches need be ___________________ and ___________________." (p. 308)

8. What neglect is perilous to our spiritual growth? (p. 308)




Truly consistent and unselfish labor for others can come only from a heart that loves God. ___True ___ False




STUDY QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER 42: "The Present and Eternal Rewards"

1. "Let every stroke tell for the ______________________________________." (p. 311)

2. If we seek the Lord and are converted every day what will happen to our murmurings, difficulties, and perplexing problems? (p. 312)



3. Where does every faithful, unselfish performance of duty shine? (p. 313)



4. What gives character to our gifts? (p. 315)



5. List three questions that will be asked when the cases of all come in review before God. (p. 314)


What question will not be asked?


6. What is dearer to God than the most costly gift? (p. 315)



7. How does Mrs. White illustrate the delicate balance between faith and works? (pp. 315, 316)



8. Although we have no merit in ourselves, how will God reward His faithful servants? (p. 316)



9. When the nations are gathered in judgment what does Christ present before men? (p. 318)



10. "Those whom Christ commends in the judgment may have known little of ___________________, but they have cherished His ___________________." (p. 318)



Unselfish labor for others will be doubly rewarded, both in this life and in the life to come. What are some of the rewards?


My personal commitment to the principles of this lesson:

Study Guide Index